Thanks to our generous supporters, we’ve made extraordinary progress in our work to tackle cancer to date.
Today, over 70% of people diagnosed with cancer in NSW live for five years or more past a diagnosis. In 1980, this figure was around 50%.
In 2022/23, we achieved some significant milestones to reduce the impact of cancer for generations to come.
Paving the way to tackle liver cancer
In 2023, Cancer Council NSW-funded research culminated in Australia’s first Roadmap to Liver Cancer Control.
This is a much-needed document, as the five-year survival rate for liver cancer in Australia lies at only 15%, up from 10% in the mid-2000s.
The new Roadmap identifies the priority actions needed to improve outcomes and survival rates for liver cancer in Australia over the next 2-10 years, including:
- Raising awareness of liver cancer risk factors.
- Bolstering screening for liver disease in high-risk communities.
- Improving supportive care services.
- Supporting more people through treatment for hepatitis B and C, key risk factors for liver cancer.
Daffodil Centre* researchers directly contributed to the Roadmap by providing findings about the current state of clinical practice and detection of liver cancer.
Our work was part of a larger project funded by the Australian Government that ran from 2019.
Looking to the bigger picture, Cancer Council NSW has also funded several key projects into liver cancer. This includes Professor Jacob George’s research which has revolutionised treatment for hepatitis B and C and, in turn, reduced the risk of liver cancer in the community.
Read more about the liver cancer research projects we’ve funded below.
Researching new ways to treat liver cancer
Click each profile below to get a brief insight into the research our donors have funded.
Doctor Jeremy Booth
Using A.I. to enhance radiotherapy effectiveness
Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, in this project Dr Booth and his team will implement “beam’s-eye-view” tracking technology during radiation treatment for prostate, liver and pancreas cancer patients.
With beam’s-eye-view tracking, the cancer is tracked at all time during radiation therapy treatment, ensuring high accuracy and high precision treatment.
For the patients, this means their cancer is hit and destroyed while their healthy tissue and organs are protected from damage.
Prof. Peter Leedman
Finding new ways to treat liver cancer
Targeting the liver
In this project, Professor Leedman and his team will investigate a new treatment approach that combines a new drug delivery method capable of specifically targeting the liver, with a new anticancer drug shown to ‘switch off’ cancer cells.
Once this new treatment has been developed the team will test their approach in pre-clinical models in the lab.
They’ll then conduct further pre-clinical tests to see how effective this new treatment is when combined with existing liver cancer treatments.
Prof Geoffrey McCaughan
Using combination therapies to treat liver cancer
- Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer and it is the sixth leading cause of cancer–related death in Australia. Once HCC has spread to other parts of the body, there are very few effective treatment options and the overall five-year survival rate is less than 20%.
- Professor McCaughan’s team have developed two potential new treatments which target HCC cells, the surrounding blood vessels and the immune system within the tumour. In this project, the team will test these new therapies in combination with each other in pre-clinical models to identify the most effective way to target and kill HCC cells.
- By targeting several different components of the tumour the team hope to maximise the effectiveness of the drugs they have developed. Using the expertise of his team, Professor McCaughan aims to translate the results from the laboratory into clinical trials, where they hope their new treatment approach will improve outcomes for patients with HCC, especially those with a poor prognosis.
Prof Jacob George
A new approach to fighting drug resistance
Fighting drug resistance
- Cells known as stem cells that exist within a liver cancer are known to play a key role in the progression of liver cancer and the development of resistance to drugs. But attempts to target and kill these stem cells have been disappointing.
- This project focuses on using aptamer molecules, also known as chemical antibodies, to target liver cancer stem cells. Prof George and his team have generated aptamers against two important surface markers that identify liver cancer stem cells. They have also shown these aptamers can be combined with a widely used anticancer drug to form a ‘therapeutic complex’.